Sharing the Road: 3 Myths Drivers Believe About Bicycling

Because Californians can enjoy bicycling year round in most parts of the state, we boast a healthy community of cyclists. But despite its health benefits, bicycling in California continues to be a dangerous activity.

In some places, bicyclist are forced to share the road with motorists who may not give them the same respect they give other drivers. They might not even see them, which creates situations in which crashes and serious injuries occur.

In most bicycle collision cases, there is always finger pointing; but ultimately, there is one thing we should note: there are a number of myths most drivers believe that tend to make situations more dangerous for bicyclists. Let's look at three of them today:

Myth #1: Bicyclists never follow the rules of the road or the law.

This myth stems from the argument made by drivers that states bicyclists who don't obey the law should not receive the same respect given to those who do obey the law. This myth is a fallacy, though.

Bicyclists bend the rules just like drivers do and in many instances, they do so in a safe and controlled way. Acting aggressive toward or ignoring bicyclists simply because you see their bending of the rules as wrong only creates a dangerous situation.

Myth #2: Cyclists put themselves in harm's way.

If you've ever seen a bicyclist riding along the side of the road and have asked yourself why they aren't riding on the sidewalk or, if there isn't a sidewalk, why they didn't choose another route, then you may believe this myth.

While this may be the case for some cyclists, it's not the case for others. Because of road design, a bicyclist may have no other choice than to ride on the road. In the end, they may be just as annoyed about riding in the street as you are.

Myth #3: Putting in bike lanes would slow down traffic.

While this myth might seem true at first, according to a project conducted in New York a few years ago, we can see that bike lanes may do the opposite of what this myth states. Bike lanes can even reduce the number of pedestrian and bicycle collisions, thereby decreasing the risk of injury or death. In some situations, it may even speed up traffic patterns because it separates fast-moving vehicles from slow-moving riders.

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